Cost of Airport Security...in $ and Lives

Old Jul 1, 20, 11:13 am
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Cost of Airport Security...in $ and Lives

I thought this was a pretty good video. Not posting to debate security in Israel-which is covered a lot. Near the end they mention two interesting items.

1) Cost per life saved by TSA since 2001 is about $660 million dollars. Staggering.

2) Airport security in the US being such a pain-and ineffective as they perform so poorly in tests--actually costs lives. People avoid flying and take less safer modes of travel. There were upticks in traffic deaths in 2002 in the US as people took to the roads instead of the air.

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Old Jul 1, 20, 1:55 pm
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The embedded video promotes the Israeli airport security model. We have several older threads discussing Israeli airport security, here are a couple:

TLV and Israeli security discussion

Any opinions on Israeli security?
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Old Jul 1, 20, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by TWA884 View Post
The embedded video promotes the Israeli airport security model. We have several older threads discussing Israeli airport security, here are a couple:

TLV and Israeli security discussion

Any opinions on Israeli security?
Understood...I was just interested in that part talking about what we are getting for our TSA investment.
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Old Jul 1, 20, 3:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker View Post
Understood...I was just interested in that part talking about what we are getting for our TSA investment.
The problem with TSA is security is solution-oriented, implemented by products. Instead, TSA just goes with shopping spree and straight to products. Also - except for FAMs, most TSA "Officers" are nationalized after the 9/11. They are not exactly highly trained.
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Old Jul 2, 20, 12:08 am
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Almost none of the pre-9/11 contract screeners at US airports were hired by TSA.
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Old Jul 2, 20, 3:43 am
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker View Post
I thought this was a pretty good video. Not posting to debate security in Israel-which is covered a lot. Near the end they mention two interesting items.

1) Cost per life saved by TSA since 2001 is about $660 million dollars. Staggering.

2) Airport security in the US being such a pain-and ineffective as they perform so poorly in tests--actually costs lives. People avoid flying and take less safer modes of travel. There were upticks in traffic deaths in 2002 in the US as people took to the roads instead of the air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Y1kJpHBn50
The shift from air to ground travel in 2002 was motivated by terrorphobia, not by discomfort with new screening procedures in the airport. Early procedures implemented after 9/11 did not include the onerous and abusive tactics implemented in 2010 - whole body imaging, and full body pat-downs. Nor did they include ID checks or chat-downs, which were put in place mostly as a feel-good measure because of some publicized stow-away incidents where people gained entry to the sterile area on fraudulent or expired BPs. In the early days, TSOs didn't even wear the pseudo-police uniforms they do today.
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Old Jul 2, 20, 12:31 pm
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For the first couple of years after 9/11, the only real differences for travelers was that TSA was 10 times slower than the average pre-9/11 screeners. Shoe carnival, belt panic, the war on water, then the rise of grope a dope all were added on one at at time.
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Old Jul 2, 20, 3:17 pm
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
Almost none of the pre-9/11 contract screeners at US airports were hired by TSA.
I have to give you the bad news - TSA was established in response to 9/11. Obviously, no screener was hired by TSA before 9/11 as it was not existed until then.

Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
The shift from air to ground travel in 2002 was motivated by terrorphobia, not by discomfort with new screening procedures in the airport.
Actually, the shift was motivated by politics and money.

Allow me to be blunt - all the security measures we have seen now are creating a false sense of security. Since 9/11, we have been seeing plenty of terrorist events worldwide. In many instances, they happened either in a heightened security area or the security in the area has been heightened by other reasons.

This is not a judgment to TSA. Instead, it is about the vendors of security measures. They are making money out of people's fear. But these products do not protect us at all.

So not related to Israel, TSA should create a solution to secure America, not buying more and more. And TSA screeners can return back to privatization.

Last edited by garykung; Jul 2, 20 at 3:27 pm
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Old Jul 2, 20, 5:39 pm
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I know TSA is costly in numerous ways but always thought it was a 60,000 person agency. Don't ever believe that!

The chart on page TSA 21 found in the link below shows TSA has over 55,000 full time employees and an additional 52,000+ of full time equivalent employees. Out of that 100,000 plus employee load TSA only claims to have 47,000 screeners. Even accounting for FAM's and TSI's that leaves a lot of fat on the table for excessive administrative positions. All to a tune of $8,000,000,000.00 each and every year. My question, are we any safer with TSA on the job?

(Was unable to copy and paste the chart while retaining formatting)

TSA Budget Overview
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Old Jul 3, 20, 4:23 am
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Originally Posted by catocony
Almost none of the pre-9/11 contract screeners at US airports were hired by TSA.
Originally Posted by garykung View Post
I have to give you the bad news - TSA was established in response to 9/11. Obviously, no screener was hired by TSA before 9/11 as it was not existed until then.
I think what catocony meant was that when TSA was established in late 2001, it did not hire many of the experienced screeners who had been working prior to 9/11, it hired an entirely new workforce of inexperienced people.

Originally Posted by garykung View Post
Actually, the shift was motivated by politics and money.

Allow me to be blunt - all the security measures we have seen now are creating a false sense of security. Since 9/11, we have been seeing plenty of terrorist events worldwide. In many instances, they happened either in a heightened security area or the security in the area has been heightened by other reasons.

This is not a judgment to TSA. Instead, it is about the vendors of security measures. They are making money out of people's fear. But these products do not protect us at all.

So not related to Israel, TSA should create a solution to secure America, not buying more and more. And TSA screeners can return back to privatization.
I don't know what you mean. My post was meant to indicate that the traveling public decided to drive more than they flew in the first few years after 9/11, and that decision was motivated by fear of being killed in a terrorist attack on a plane, not by dislike of the new security protocols enacted after 9/11. Those protocols were far less invasive in the beginning, and have gradually ramped up to the disgusting level which we see today.

In the first year or so after 9/11, the biggest changes to airport security were limiting the sterile area to ticketed passengers only, prohibiting all sharps, and increasing scrutiny of carry-on bags. A few months in, the Shoe Carnival began in response to the December 2001 shoe bomber. The War on Water didn't begin until the 2006 liquid bombing plot was foiled in London, and the nude-o-scope wasn't deployed until 2009. Chat-downs and BDO were implemented in the late 2000's, I think in 2009, and have subsequently been eliminated. I can't remember when they tightened up the ID/BP checks, but I believe it was around the same time frame, late 2000's, in response to a couple of highly-publicized stow-away incidents in which someone used a fraudulent, discarded, or expired BP to gain entry into the sterile area, which embarrassed TSA. The most recent debacle, using full-body pat-downs to resolve ANY WBI scan anomaly instead of a targeted-area pat down, was put in place only about a year of so ago, to 'reduce the cognitive burden' on screeners (literally, to make them THINK LESS while performing their jobs).

So, in 2002, people were driving to their destinations more and flying less, not because of TSA, but because they were afraid to get on a plane and be blown up.

Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
I know TSA is costly in numerous ways but always thought it was a 60,000 person agency. Don't ever believe that!

The chart on page TSA 21 found in the link below shows TSA has over 55,000 full time employees and an additional 52,000+ of full time equivalent employees. Out of that 100,000 plus employee load TSA only claims to have 47,000 screeners. Even accounting for FAM's and TSI's that leaves a lot of fat on the table for excessive administrative positions. All to a tune of $8,000,000,000.00 each and every year. My question, are we any safer with TSA on the job?

(Was unable to copy and paste the chart while retaining formatting)

TSA Budget Overview
Well, your question is somewhat vague. Are we safer with TSA than with what?

Are we safer with TSA than we would be with absolutely nothing? Sure. Absolutely. No question in my mind.

Are we safer with TSA than we were with pre-9/11 screening? Slightly, in my opinion, though the prevailing opinion here on FT is that we no safer, and possibly less safe due to TSA's rank incompetence. I do think that some of the changes made by TSA over the years have marginally increased our safety, like limiting the sterile area to ticketed passengers only (reduces the number of people needing screening and concentrates resources), improving the screening for both checked and carry-on bags, and ETD being available at every checkpoint. I'd even say that WBI could have been a positive addition, if it have been used as an alarm resolution rather than a first-line screening technique (as it was sold to us initially all those years ago). But on balance, I think we are slightly safer with TSA than with pre-9/11 screening, but at a much greater financial cost, and with egregious violations of our Constitutional rights thrown in. Not worth it, IMHO.

Are we safer with TSA than almost any other nation's passenger screening? Again, the prevailing opinion here is that most other countries do it better, cheaper, more efficiently, less invasively, and keep their pax safer than TSA. Never having traveled internationally, I cannot form a definitive opinion on that one, but after reading thread after thread here, I'd say no, we're probably not safer with TSA than we would be a screening agency that emulated most other countries' approaches to air passenger screening. I believe that TSA is less competent, more abusive and arbitrary, and costlier than most other nations' screening agencies.
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Last edited by WillCAD; Jul 3, 20 at 4:28 am
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Old Jul 3, 20, 12:07 pm
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
I think what catocony meant was that when TSA was established in late 2001, it did not hire many of the experienced screeners who had been working prior to 9/11, it hired an entirely new workforce of inexperienced people.



I don't know what you mean. My post was meant to indicate that the traveling public decided to drive more than they flew in the first few years after 9/11, and that decision was motivated by fear of being killed in a terrorist attack on a plane, not by dislike of the new security protocols enacted after 9/11. Those protocols were far less invasive in the beginning, and have gradually ramped up to the disgusting level which we see today.

In the first year or so after 9/11, the biggest changes to airport security were limiting the sterile area to ticketed passengers only, prohibiting all sharps, and increasing scrutiny of carry-on bags. A few months in, the Shoe Carnival began in response to the December 2001 shoe bomber. The War on Water didn't begin until the 2006 liquid bombing plot was foiled in London, and the nude-o-scope wasn't deployed until 2009. Chat-downs and BDO were implemented in the late 2000's, I think in 2009, and have subsequently been eliminated. I can't remember when they tightened up the ID/BP checks, but I believe it was around the same time frame, late 2000's, in response to a couple of highly-publicized stow-away incidents in which someone used a fraudulent, discarded, or expired BP to gain entry into the sterile area, which embarrassed TSA. The most recent debacle, using full-body pat-downs to resolve ANY WBI scan anomaly instead of a targeted-area pat down, was put in place only about a year of so ago, to 'reduce the cognitive burden' on screeners (literally, to make them THINK LESS while performing their jobs).

So, in 2002, people were driving to their destinations more and flying less, not because of TSA, but because they were afraid to get on a plane and be blown up.



Well, your question is somewhat vague. Are we safer with TSA than with what?

Are we safer with TSA than we would be with absolutely nothing? Sure. Absolutely. No question in my mind.

Are we safer with TSA than we were with pre-9/11 screening? Slightly, in my opinion, though the prevailing opinion here on FT is that we no safer, and possibly less safe due to TSA's rank incompetence. I do think that some of the changes made by TSA over the years have marginally increased our safety, like limiting the sterile area to ticketed passengers only (reduces the number of people needing screening and concentrates resources), improving the screening for both checked and carry-on bags, and ETD being available at every checkpoint. I'd even say that WBI could have been a positive addition, if it have been used as an alarm resolution rather than a first-line screening technique (as it was sold to us initially all those years ago). But on balance, I think we are slightly safer with TSA than with pre-9/11 screening, but at a much greater financial cost, and with egregious violations of our Constitutional rights thrown in. Not worth it, IMHO.

Are we safer with TSA than almost any other nation's passenger screening? Again, the prevailing opinion here is that most other countries do it better, cheaper, more efficiently, less invasively, and keep their pax safer than TSA. Never having traveled internationally, I cannot form a definitive opinion on that one, but after reading thread after thread here, I'd say no, we're probably not safer with TSA than we would be a screening agency that emulated most other countries' approaches to air passenger screening. I believe that TSA is less competent, more abusive and arbitrary, and costlier than most other nations' screening agencies.
I would suggest my question was more rhetorical than vague but if not rhetorical then opened ended so readers could form their own opinions.

On 9/11/2001 an effective passenger screening force was in place and complying with existing FAA screening regulations. The screeners working on 9/11 did not fail, they did not miss the knives or other bladed instrument's the terrorist carried that day, those items were permitted by the United States government.

After the terrorist attack, which used commercial passenger airplanes as guided missiles, the FAA could have issued emergency screening requirements for passenger aircraft. After that there was time to figure out more robust screening methods all without creating a new level of bureaucracy. The one thing that government executives are good at is increasing the size of government and their personal power.

What we ended up with thanks to afraid congressmen is an overly large, nearly incompetent federal agency that the public has little faith in.

Whatever the cost, in dollars or lives, is just too high for the service we get in return.
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Old Jul 3, 20, 4:00 pm
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Americans couldn't accept the easy truth that the hijackings happened because the procedures at the time were to allow a hijacking to happen if someone tried in the air. Don't fight back, the worse you'll get is a weekend in Cuba or Venezuela or something. And yeah, the terrorists didn't sneak explosives or firearms or knockout gas or anything of the sort. They went through security with allowable items only.
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Old Jul 3, 20, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
Americans couldn't accept the easy truth that the hijackings happened because the procedures at the time were to allow a hijacking to happen if someone tried in the air. Don't fight back, the worse you'll get is a weekend in Cuba or Venezuela or something. And yeah, the terrorists didn't sneak explosives or firearms or knockout gas or anything of the sort. They went through security with allowable items only.
Yes, and the same government that set the rules for passenger screening on 9/11 is now doing that screening itself.
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Old Jul 3, 20, 11:19 pm
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TSA is 100% responsibility for screenings all checked bags and all passengers. They have keep terrorist out of United States and keep it out of the aircraft. They must protected them. Make it safer.

As for serial stowaway, she cannot go through at security without a ticket. So please don't let her go through at security! She's trying sneak on the plane without a ticket. She could breach security again. If she come near ORD or MDW property. She will be arrested again. She still banned ORD, MDW, Greyhound bus and Amtrak. She cannot leaves from mental health facility. As long if she behave well. She still take a medication. She is no longer going to an airports anymore.
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Old Jul 4, 20, 11:34 pm
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Originally Posted by Mr. Vker View Post
People avoid flying and take less safer modes of travel. There were upticks in traffic deaths in 2002 in the US as people took to the roads instead of the air
A bit over 8 years ago, I decided to get my pilots license and buy my own plane. Since then I think I have only taken 2 domestic flights... both of which were to pickup/dropoff my plane at a maintenance shop 400 miles away. I can fly myself from Reno to Dallas in a day and not have to deal with any TSA hassle. I can carry water on board and a Swiss Army knife and basically whatever I feel like taking. I get to fly on my own schedule too. I fly myself to Texas and Michigan at least twice a year and have flown myself to Cuba and Guatemala as well.

For trips to non-major airports it is faster than going commercial and with 3 onboard it is about the same cost.

Flying myself is certainly not as safe as going commercial of course, but now I only use commercial to fly to Europe or Asia.
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Last edited by DesertNomad; Jul 4, 20 at 11:42 pm
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